Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales is traveling to Cuba Friday, the first stop of an international trip that will also take him to Europe, Asia and South Africa.

Mr. Morales is set to board a Cuban airliner, heading to Havana to meet with President Fidel Castro.

Mr. Morales has pledged his support for Mr. Castro's struggles against so-called imperialism.

The president-elect's international tour comes ahead of his inauguration January 22.

Mr. Morales is expected to return to Bolivia for New Year's Eve before embarking for Spain, France, Belgium, China and South Africa. He is expected to be back in South America by January 13 for a meeting in Brazil with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In related news, Mr. Morales Thursday told a crowd of Bolivian coca growers that the plant used to make cocaine is stronger than the U.S. dollar.